I’d just come back from a long run, and was tucking into some lunch. Fiona suggested setting me a blind tasting challenge. This is dangerous.
In the blind tasting challenge, she picks a wine at random from my racks (I have about 400 bottles in the home, ranging from fairly serious to cheap samples) and serves it to me. I have to guess where it is from, and what it is – a task made more difficult by the fact that I don’t have a clear idea of what I have stashed away. And she doesn’t have any idea of whether the wines are cheap or expensive, so this sort of game can end up badly if something serious gets opened before its time, but the risk sort of adds to the excitement.
Well, the wine she brought out in a glass was red. It smelled very elegant, and quite ripe. Serious, actually. I said old world, I said France, I said Bordeaux. Correct. This is where I got a bit worried, because this was really supple and elegant, and tasted expensive. Could it be a special bottle?
This is why blind tasting is so fun. The wine in question was a £7.25 claret from The Wine Society. Alas, this vintage, the 2010, is now out of stock, or I would have bought a case. It’s a really good supple, elegant, ripe Bordeaux showing great balance. I am not surprised that it sold out.
However, if I had known in advance that this was a £7.25 Bordeaux, I am pretty sure I would have rated it lower. Information matters so much: it affects how we process sensory information, even at a subconscious level. This is one of the wines that suffers from preconceptions, because people don’t expect cheap claret to be much good.